Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Paraguay at the Crossroads

This was one of my earliest posts.

Having spent some time in Latin America, and particularly Paraguay, I am sad to see the problems that lie ahead there due to a 'turbulent priest'. The piece below is taken from The Lighthouse.

President-elect Fernando Lugo will face huge obstacles to fostering a prosperous democracy when he takes power in Paraguay in August. As Carlos Alberto Montaner, advisor to the Independent Institute's Center on Global Prosperity notes, the former Catholic bishop can hardly look to positive role models among his immediate neighbors. Argentina under the Kirchners is experiencing a new form of Peronism. Brazil? Lugo will likely be butting heads with it. Bolivia? Morales is Chavez "light."

An alternative way to frame the choice for Lugo is to consider not Paraguay's geographically closest neighbors, but rather two countries that exemplify widely divergent visions of economic development: Venezuela and Ireland. Which of the two approaches is he more likely to emulate?

"If he is guided by the rancorous nonsense of Liberation Theology, his country will undoubtedly follow the Venezuelan road and plunge into a deep political and economic crisis," writes Montaner. "If he chooses to look to Ireland (or Chile, close to home), he'll be able to serve his neediest compatriots, which is what he apparently desires. I haven't the slightest notion of what he'll do, but, with the passing of years, I've learned that optimism is usually followed by frustration. Lamentably."

"Paraguay: Ireland or Venezuela?" by Carlos Alberto Montaner (7/16/08)

Center on Global Prosperity (Alvaro Vargas Llosa, Director)

Purchase Lessons from the Poor: The Triumph of the Entrepreneurial Spirit, edited by Alvaro Vargas Llosa.

Purchase Liberty for Latin America: How to Undo Five Hundred Years of State Oppression, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa.

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